A ZeroNorth survey shows implementing DevSecOps is rife with questions for many organizations, with no clear answers
There’s general agreement that digital business transformation initiatives are driving an overall acceleration in the rate at which applications are developed. At the same time, however, given the critical nature of those applications, cybersecurity has never been more of an imperative for DevOps teams. The challenge they are encountering is not so much a lack of tools to address that requirement, but rather a lack of clarity in terms of what tool to use when.
A survey of 57 cybersecurity professionals conducted by ZeroNorth, a provider of a platform for orchestrating vulnerability scanning tools, highlights the extent of the DevSecOps challenge. The survey finds 63% of respondents said their organization currently employs six or more scanning tools. The most widely employed are network scanning (53%) and vulnerability scanning (51%). However, a quarter (25%) don’t know if their organization is using interactive application security testing (IAST), while 19% don’t know if they are using software composition analysis (SCA) tools.
As far as DevSecOps is concerned, there’s little to no clarity in terms of where to primarily focus scanning efforts. Build/CI environments (68%) receive the most focus, but 46% are focused on scanning within integrated development environments (IDEs). Container/artifact management (67%), source code repositories (58%) and deployment (56%) all fall somewhere in between, the survey finds.
There’s also no clear consensus on the merits of open source versus commercial testing tools Open source software (OSS) tools were identified as a priority for less than half of respondents (47%). However, 27% of respondents said they expect to begin using open source tools in 2020. Of the respondents currently employing OSS tools, 14% said believe these tools are more effective than commercial test and scan tools. Well over a third (39%) said they believe they are more effective when combined or customized. Just under a third (32%) said OSS tools are equally as effective as commercial options, while only 9% said they are less effective.
The survey also shows disparity when it comes to the various areas that make up a digital business transformation, with the most mature being cloud migration (80%), followed by DevOps (67%), continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) (62%) and microservices (62%). Overall, 79% of respondents said they have a digital business initiative underway.
ZeroNorth CTO John Steven said it’s clear that in many cases, the need for faster iterations of application development is outpacing the operational capabilities of IT organizations, especially when it comes to DevSecOps. Given the chronic shortage of cybersecurity professionals, there may be an average of only one cybersecurity professional for every 100 developers. Having cybersecurity professionals participate in every scrum session isn’t feasible, so there needs to be a way for cybersecurity professionals to provide guidance to developers specifically when it comes to what scanning tool should be applied and when, said Steven.
The survey finds network (53%) and vulnerability (51%) scanning are the most broadly employed. However, that also suggests that many IT teams involved in digital business transformation initiatives are not making use of scanning at all.
The good news is that survey respondents said identifying bugs, flaws and vulnerabilities throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC) is either “extremely” (58%) or “very” (42%) important to all participants involved. A total of 47% said it was either “extremely important” or “very important (35%) to improve visibility around operations by integrating security earlier into the software development life cycle (SDLC). However, while the DevSecOps spirit may be willing, the ability to implement best DevSecOps practices is still clearly weak.